‘Too early to say whether high youth voter registration will translate to change,’ warns expert

todayNovember 21, 2023 30 1

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An electoral commission official verifies sealed ballot boxes at the Fordsburg Primary school polling station under the supervision of party delegates in Johannesburg on November 1, 2021, as South Africans showed little enthusiasm for local elections expected to reflect growing discontent with the governing ANC, marred in corruption scandals and struggling to revive the economy. (Photo by EMMANUEL CROSET / AFP)

Veteran political analyst and author, Professor Susan Booysen, says while the number of the youth that registered for next year’s elections is impressive, they only represent a small fraction of young people in the country.

On Monday, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced that young people between the ages of 16 and 29 account for 78.31% of the 568 374 new voters.

More than 2.9 million residents have so far registered to participate in next year’s hotly contested general elections.

The IEC held its election registration over weekend, while the online registration continues.
Booysen says it is too early to say if the high number will translate to actual change in the polls.
She says while parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have a large youth support base than other parties, that has not always reflected during election time.
Booysen believes that the party could change this – if it realises how much electoral potential it has.
She is of the view that parties coming together like the DA an IFP have been able to capture the imagination of young people who want to see the ANC unseated after the 2024 general elections.
Booysen is basing the opinion on the mushrooming of political parties in the lead-up to the polls and the perceived appetite for change from young people.

Professor Booysen says as the battle for the hearts and minds of South African voters hots up, any change in the political landscape is bound to stir up some interest among South Africa’s young people.

Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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